Out with the old! In with the New (Year)! 2019 has arrived!
Each year January 1st begs a most popular question, “What is your new year’s resolution?”
For many people these resolutions are made haphazardly with no apparent strategy. Some of the most popular new year resolutions are: 1.) Lose weight/get healthy, 2.) Exercise, 3.) Save more/spend less (or get out of debt), 4.) Get organized, and many more.
What is a resolution? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it means, “The process of finding the answer to a conflict or problem.” It also means, “a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent…”
Any time I make a resolution, my main goal is to make myself feel better. I promise myself that I will do something and in that moment, I feel good about myself. The euphoric feeling that a resolution brings is only temporary and I give up on it. It seems this way with many people. I asked myself why I do not stick to the promise that I made to myself, then I noticed that a resolution is not the same as an goal.
A goal, according to dictionary.com is, “The result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.” Another word that describes, “goal” is objective.
A couple of definitions of “Objective” that is found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary are, “Something you are trying to do or achieve: a goal or purpose” or “something toward which effort is directed: an aim, goal, or end of action.” Objectives are achieved by establishing a plan of action. “I want to get here by this time. How will I make that happen?”
One strategy to achieving goals is to first become organized. I do this by purchasing the perfect planner for me. I am trying a new one this year, “Create 365” also known as “The Happy Planner.” I am excited to use this one because it is completely customizable. I can add pages or remove them. It comes with stickers that highlight special days or important projects. Other stickers are available for purchase.
If you were to flip through my planner, you would notice that there are various highlighter colors. Yes, my planner is color coded. It makes it easier for me to view my day or week at a glance. For example, if I highlight work in yellow, church events in pink, and professional obligations in green, it is easy to open the book tand see what I have going on during that week. If I see these colors, I have an idea of what I need to do. Having an organized planner keeps me focused on my goals and helps me to “budget” my time.
Goals should be reasonable and specific. To say “I’m going to lose weight this year” is an aimless resolution. So how do we set a course of action?
One of the strategies that I use (there is no research behind this) is to ask myself, “How?” until I reach a reasonable conclusion. Here is an example:
I am going to lose weight this year.
I will make healthy food choices.
I will plan ahead by cooking food at home to eat there or at work (I use freezer meals).
That was a short example. Here is another one that follows the same goal:
I am going to be more healthy this year.
I will be more dedicated to my exercise routine.
I will plan ahead by packing my gym bag the night before and making sure it is ready for an post work exercise session.
Do you want one more example? Sure thing! Here you go.
This year I will work on reducing my debt to income ratio.
I will create a budget and stick with it.
I will use cash instead of cards.
I will designate money for specific purposes and stick with the plan.
I will make a list of purchases and not reach beyond what is necessary.
I will use a spreadsheet to keep track of my expenses so I can see where my money is going and how much is being spent.
As you can see, some goals require more thought and more planning to achieve. You may have noticed that I did not say, “I will lose 30 lbs in 2 weeks.” In fact, I did not put a specific number on it at all. That is an unrealistic goal which will result in frustration, and ultimately failure. When we work hard for something, it is more gratifying than the temporal pleasure of an intended resolution and the results will be more long term.
This year, consider ditching the traditional resolution and determine a GOAL instead, then make a plan to achieve your goals.
So, what’s your 2019 New Year Goal?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!